The Royal Air Force and the Future of Maritime Aviation

  • Christina J. M. Goulter

Abstract

Like the other two Services, the Royal Air Force (RAF) has been cornpelled to reassess its roles since the end of the Cold War. As part of this there has also been a recent attempt to revise the RAF’s doctrine, since it was felt that the last edition was too closely tied to a NATO—Warsaw Pact confrontation.1 While revisions are necessary, they need to be done carefully. There is a temptation to reason that because particular roles were dominant during the Cold War, they are no longer required in the new post-Cold War world. The RAF’s own history has shown the dangers of eliminating whole capabilities in periods of downsizing rather than effecting cuts across the board. History has also shown that some of the RAF’s roles are easier targets than others during cost-cutting exercises, and one role to have been targeted repeatedly is shore-based maritime aviation. Maritime aviation played an important role during the Cold War, but recent RAF restructuring shows that it is again under threat. Yet, in the future, there is likely to be as much, if not more, of a need for shore-based maritime aviation. Not only have most traditional roles for maritime aviation persisted beyond the Cold War, but as the RAF heads into the next century as part of the new joint service structure, the emphasis will be on littoral warfare. In this environment, the need for the RAF to maintain a strong maritime force is obvious.

Keywords

Littoral Environment Defence Policy Defence Budget Cruise Missile Nuclear Deterrent 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 3.
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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1999

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  • Christina J. M. Goulter

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